Every time she looks up at California's Capitol dome and walks into the grand old building, says freshman state Sen. Janet Nguyen, "I think to myself, 'Wow!'
"I'm one of 40 state senators in California. Never in my entire life did I think I would become a state senator. It's the coolest thing.
"That's the American dream," she continues. "That's what America is about."
That may sound a little hokey to many jaded natives. But from the lips of this 38-year-old Santa Ana Republican — the first Vietnamese American state senator in U.S. history — it has the ring of sincerity. She is, literally, a gung-ho flag-waver and it's...